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Thread: Taylor Lake to Hancock Lake
08-23-2012, 05:18 AM #1
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
- Grand Junction, CO
Taylor Lake to Hancock Lake
Friday - Sunday, August 17-19, 2012
The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO
I went to work on Friday with all my camping gear loaded in my Jeep, but no plans on where to go. I just knew I wanted to get up in the mountains for two nights, but not to the San Juan's again. When I finally left work, I decided to make my way towards Aspen since I haven't been that way for a while. As I was driving to Aspen I tried to think of any lakes that I could camp by to hopefully catch a good sunrise, and the only one I could think of was Taylor Lake, so that's where I headed.
As I was driving up to Taylor Pass on the Express Creek Road, the late evening sunlight was filtered through a thick layer of smoke that has blanketed most of Colorado all week causing it to appear much warmer than normal.
Yellow Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Driving up the final switchback to reach Taylor Pass.
To Taylor Pass by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
The sun getting close to setting behind the Elk Mountains. The sky still filled with smoke.
Smoky Sun by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
The view down on Taylor Lake from Taylor Pass. I drove down next tot he lake and setup camp in the twilight.
Taylor Lake by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
After a little reading I went to bed so I could get up early and try to catch a nice sunrise.
Here's a photo from Taylor Lake during the sunrise the next morning. There were no clouds and still plenty of smoke in the air, so this is the best I was able to get. Taylor Pass is the low spot just right of the middle and Taylor Peak is the 13,495 foot peak just left of the middle.
Taylor Lake Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
My campsite along the shore of Taylor Lake in the warm early morning light. If you look closely at my tent, you can see that it was covered with front this cold morning. It's been a while since that has happened...fall must be right around the corner!
Taylor Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
After some breakfast and then packing up camp, I drove back up to Taylor Pass and took the Richmond Hill - Aspen Mountain Road back to Aspen. Much of the route followed along the top of Richmond Ridge with much of it above tree line.
There was still plenty of smoke in the air this morning.
Smoke by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
The road following the top of Richmond Ridge with the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness on the right side of it.
Aspen Ridge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
While driving down the Aspen Mountain Summer Road, I switchbacked back and fourth under the gondola a few times.
Aspen Gondola by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
When I reached Aspen again, I decided to take paved road over Independence Pass towards Buena Vista. Before reaching the pass I took a side trail up Lincoln Creek that I have not been up before. Near the end of the gulch the road climbed steeply up to the Ruby Mine.
Climbing up to the Ruby Mine in Lincoln Gulch.
Ruby Mine Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
After finishing up my short side trip along Lincoln Creek I made my way over the the historic town of Independence followed by Independence Pass. There were too many people around and still much smoke in the sky, so I didn't really bother sticking around and taking photos this time. After an early dinner at the Coyote Cantina in Johnson Village I drove along Chalk Creek into the Sawatch Range. I eventually reached Hancock Lake which is where I decided to spend my second night. I spent the evening taking photos around the lake during sunset since a lot of the smoke had finally cleared out.
Wave of Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Over the Mountain by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
My campsite the second night near Hancock Lake.
Hancock Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Hancock Lake by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Hancock Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Pink Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
End of the Day by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
When the sun was finally down I hiked back to my tent so I could get to bed. Unfortunately, I must have picked a terrible spot to camp that night since the wind continued to blow into my tent pretty regularly. Usually, after the sun goes down, the wind also dies down, but not this time. I had gone to bed around 9:30pm and was still awake because fo the wind at 12:30am. At that time I had had enough and quickly packed up my camp into the Jeep and started moving. I was wide awake and considered driving straight home, which would have been a four hour drive at the minimum. After driving for about an hour I realized I was now too tired to make it all the way home and pulled off on the Old Monarch Pass road to find another campsite. I did manage to find a nice site and was back in bed by 2:00am. I could still hear some wind howling in the trees and mountains around me, but it wasn't blowing through my tent this time. Before going to sleep, I turned off the alarm on my phone since I knew there was no way I would be up for sunrise in the morning...I was sleeping in!
I ended up sleeping in until about 9am that morning and then slowly got my camp packed back into the Jeep. When I was ready to go I finished the drive down from Old Monarch Pass before finishing the drive home through Gunnison, Montrose and Delta on US 50.
>> Taylor Lake to Hancock Lake Photo Gallery
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08-25-2012, 06:26 AM #2
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
- Salem, Utah
Post Thanks / Like - 1 Likesjpprice47 liked this post
09-02-2012, 09:35 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
- Cortez, CO
Thanks for the great trip report, Randy! Makes me want to throw my cot tent in the Rubi and head out for Aspen. Great pics! I've yet to use my cot tent (like yours) and am looking forward to using it this fall. Maybe a trip over Elk Ridge to Beef Basin and the back door to Elephant Hill.
Has anyone gone from Beef Basin to Elephant Hill this year?
02-14-2013, 05:47 AM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2013
Hi, Love the trips reports. I have a basically stock 2012 Rubicon (AEV bumpers and winch) stock tires. Not really interested in rock crawling, more touring the back country like alot of your latest reports. Would you suggest any mods before I drag my jeep all the way from Atlanta Ga to southern Ut and Co this spring?
What mods have you made to yours?
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